House debates

Wednesday, 16 March 2016


Turnbull Government

2:48 pm

Photo of Bill ShortenBill Shorten (Maribyrnong, Australian Labor Party, Leader of the Opposition) Share this | Hansard source

What we have also seen, with this loss of this new economic leadership, is the Treasurer—he was going to look at the GST. It is just shelved. It is not dead, buried and cremated, but it is certainly shelved for the time being. I am just wondering, with this Treasurer, if it is possible for Mr Turnbull to sub in a new Treasurer. Goodness knows, Mr Porter and others would be willing to do the job for Mr Morrison. What I am curious about is: has the Treasurer been down to see the foreign minister to see if the Washington post is available? No, that is gone. Maybe something more low-profile, like New Zealand. He could talk to his old mate McClay and get some more anecdotes for the next Press Club speech.

The truth of the matter is, in 2016, politics is changing, but it is not changing in the way that Mr Turnbull promised. He is running a negative approach and a small-target approach. Mr Turnbull—the insurgent radical reformer of courage, who many Australians liked before he became leader—that personality has gone and his real persona has emerged as Prime Minister of Australia. He is nothing but a paid advocate of the Liberal Party co-joined with the erratic leadership of the National Party, and Australia is the worse. The reason we are not getting tax reform in this country is Mr Turnbull believes in nothing other than himself. That is a very confident set of beliefs, though, I understand.

Everything he said he believed in before he became Prime Minister—tax reform, climate change, the CSIRO and even marriage quality—has been dropped. The only thing agile about this Prime Minister is—not his tax reforms—his convictions. This man puts the vane into weathervane. He is the ultimate hollowman of Australian politics.

Let me say this to the Prime Minister on behalf of all Australians: there is nothing honest about not being up-front with your taxation plans for Australia. You have had six months to deliver an outline of taxation reform in this country and all you have done is walk away from the excesses of negative gearing, which you acknowledge exist. All you have done is reverse the position on superannuation tax concessions. But you are still persisting— having boxed yourself in by perhaps talking too much and doing too little—with the 2014 budget.

I can promise you this, just like we promised Mr Abbott with the 2014 budget: we will fight your cuts to hospitals; we will find your cuts to schools. There is nothing exciting about making cancer patients and people with chronic disease pay more to go and get their pathology and diagnostic imaging tests. This government needs to stand up and start fighting for the Australian economy and start fighting for Australian jobs. We see nothing exciting about shipping 3,000 shipbuilding jobs to Spanish ports, not Australian shipfields.

This motion should be debated because taxation reform needs an honest debate and it needs to be up-front with the Australian people, just like Labor.


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